Reviews of Chinese Edition of Human Rights and Chinese Thought

I apologize if I am the only one who finds this fascinating! But I just learned that the Chinese edition of Human Rights and Chinese Thought, published a couple months ago by Renmin University Press as 《人权与中国思想:一种跨文化的探索》, is the subject of some reviews and excerpts on the “Reading Weekly 读药周刊” website.  

This review was quite nice and thorough, recognizing that there is some the tension between the offical view of China’s distinctive notion of human rights, on the one hand, and the more complex and ultimately more interconnected (cross-culturally) story that I tell, on the other. I was also struck by the last line. In the context of my argument that subsistence rights cannot stand alone but also need civil-political rights, the review author mentions a variety of socio-economic problems facing contemporary China and concludes: “Chinese people’s enjoying subsistence rights are of course unable to satisfy us; and everyone knows what the behind-the-scenes reason for this is.”

Finally, it was also interesting to see the main lesson that this reviewer took away from the book. On the basis of my argument that Chinese human rights discourse emerged — to a sigificant degree, anyway — out of certain strands of Confucian discourse, the reviewer draws the reasonable conclusion that Chinese traditions need not, after all, stand in the way of further modernization.

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